Insects, disease and weeds, oh, my. In our summer heat, crop problems increase until the great crescendo (frost).

Since we are having a field day at the Pee Dee Research & Education Center (PDREC) on Thursday, I have been out pulling and plowing weeds in my 20-acre vegetable demonstration/research area. As daddy would say, “Company a coming’,” and I have been trying to make my area presentable to all of the folks visiting.

In fact, while writing this I am “cooling it” in my office, because I got overheated, or like daddy would say, “I almost monkeyed out there.”

Since I almost lost that fight, I very well know those weeds are a fight this time of year. I still have much to do before the field day, but I promise you I will be a little more cautious. In fact, in this heat and humidity, we all need to be very careful, drink plenty of water and just cool it when needed.

By the way, I have discovered that one of the best ways to keep weeds from taking over your fields is to keep a crop continuously growing. We can grow at least three if not four crops per year on the same land in the Pee Dee. It is time to plant those fall/winter vegetables. However, if all else fails. plant a winter cover crop like tillage radishes, small grains, clovers, vetches, etc, or a mixture of them all.

The field day at the PDREC is open not only to farmers but to anyone interested in knowing where their food comes from or how much knowledge and hard work it takes to feed this great nation. The field day begins at 8 a.m. Thursday with two bus tours focusing on field crop and vegetable topics.

Tour 1, alone, is worth 1.5 pesticide recertification credits. Tour 2, alone, is worth 2 credits; therefore, a total of 3.5 pesticide recertification credits can be earned if you participate in both tours.

Tour 1

>> Cultivating heat tolerant butterbeans – Tony Melton.

>> Insect pest management in corn – Dr. Reay-Jones.

>> Building soils with clay amendments and cover crop mixtures – Dr. Ye.

>> Breeding sorghum for water-use efficiency, mold resistance and aphid tolerance – Dr. Boyles.

>> Carolina Seed Systems: Seed company dedicated to the Carolinas – Zach Brenton.

>> Can Pima Cotton be produced in South Carolina? – Sarah Holladay.

>> Genetic trends in the Pee Dee Cotton Breeding Program – Grant Billings.

Tour 2

>> Understanding GMOs and plant breeding – Johnathan Windham.

>> Soybean breeding – Dr. Fallen.

>> Breeding novel traits in cotton and peanuts – Dr. Rusgti.

>> Pee Dee REC cotton – Dr. Jones.

>> Insect Pests in cotton – Dr. Jeremy Greene.

>> The SC Industrial Hemp Program – David Dewitt.

Don’t worry about sensory overload; we’ll break for a sponsored lunch at mid-day to help you process the cutting-edge technology you’ve witnessed.

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